Jammu & Kashmir, Tripura, and Maharashtra ended day three of their respective clashes against Services, Uttarakhand, and Jharkhand in pole positions in the fifth round matches. Meanwhile, a patient Assam batting lineup’s collective effort helped them take a 146-run lead of Chhattisgarh.
Shubham Pundir’s unbeaten 90 puts J&K in driver’s seat
An unbeaten 90, which included 12 fours and a six, from J&K’s No.4 helped his side gain the upper hand in their clash against Services. Earlier in the day, a collective bowling effort, led by three-fers from Mohammed Mudhasir and Umar Nazir Mir, saw the away side dismiss the hosts for 242 — which meant a 118-run first-innings lead for J&K. Diwesh Pathania and Sachidanand Pandey tried to return the favour, the duo combining to reduce J&K to 14 for three, but some rearguard action courtesy of Pundir and skipper Parvez Rasool helped the visitors get back on track. Rasool fell for 45 — and Abdul Samad followed soon after — but wicket-keeper batsman Fazil Rashid’s patient innings in Pundir’s company means J&K go into the final day with a 302-run lead.
Harmeet Singh and Co. leave Uttarakhand on the brink
In a fast-moving day at Agartala, some stroke-filled batting from Tripura’s middle-order helped them get into a position to go for a win on the final day of play against Uttarakhand. While Samrat Singha held fort with a patient — and unbeaten — 58, cameos from Tanmay Mishra, Rajat Dey, and Manisankar Murasingh ensured Tripura moved the score along at a brisk rate. Harmeet Singh’s 102, which included 13 fours and a six, topped it all off, as the home side declared their innings at 279 for five, with a lead of 189 runs. Batting to save the match, Uttarakhand got off to the worst possible start, with opener Arya Sethi falling in the second over. At the end of day's play, the visitors had reached 21 for one, with skipper Tanmay Srivastava at the crease.
Satyajeet Bachhav’s five-fer forces Jharkhand follow-on
Resuming play at two for two, Jharkhand was further pegged back when they lost Nazim Siddiqui with the total only at 21. The mountain to climb — Maharashtra’s first innings total of 434 — already seemed an impossible feat, but skipper Saurabh Tiwary (62) and Virat Singh (43) stitching together a patient 99-run stand added some respectability to their scorecard. However, what followed was a collapse of disastrous proportions, as Bachhav ran through the lineup with relative ease. Azim Kazi with two and Mukesh Choudhary with three wickets supported the left-arm orthodox spinner ably. Following on, Jharkhand reached 47 for one — still trailing by 217 runs — at stumps.
Gokul Sharma ton helps Assam take comfortable lead against Chhattisgarh
Going into the penultimate day’s play at 209 for three — only 109 runs behind Chhattisgarh’s first innings total — skipper Gokul and young Riyan Parag continued on their merry way. While the youngster departed after a well-made 60, the incoming Saahil Jain kept the show going. Saahil’s 88, which included 10 fours and a six, helped his skipper at the other end slowly get through to his century. After playing out 350 balls for his 129, with 14 fours, Gokul left the stage as Assam decided to up the ante. They eventually declared at 464 for nine — 146 ahead of the visitors — giving their bowlers enough time for a late-in-the-day onslaught. Chhattisgarh closed out the day with nine wickets intact, but with a full day’s play left, the hosts have plenty to look forward to.